And so came the day that Jeroen—the Godfather—Hazebroek came over to my house for a live Big Green Egg demo.
I’d been anxiously waiting, camera in hand and with a growling tummy, when he walked through the door. I was supposed to be learning something from him, but quickly after he started working his magic on that grill I realized this guy could cook circles around the best of ‘em and I was mainly impressed. And intimidated. And scared. And hungry!
Oh strike that, I was just hungry, period. Check out these shots and you’ll see why.
You see, he brought two crates filled with yummy goodies. Sauces, oils, spices, and rubs. I was so envious of his Hellmann’s citrus dressing—it smells like liquefied lemon cheese cake and that stuff is like crack. I was also going berserk over the chipotle Tabasco he had with him. He probably thought I was a total nutcase.
I had a small hope he’d forget at least 1 of the crates. Alas, he didn’t.
We’d already cleaned out the grill before he came. Doesn’t look nearly as pristine as it did on the day I got it, does it?
After he got the grill going with so much ease it was ridiculous, it was time to head over to the kitchen to do some prepping. I’d been eyeing that gorgeous and huge piece of salmon he brought with him.
Then he got right down to business. He added biggest part of the soaked wood chips to the charcoal. It already smelled divine. See the photo on the top right? I have no idea why he stuck his finger in there. No idea whatsoever.
Next he put the salmon, skin-side down, on the grill for a nice slow smoke. Does he look serious or what? I had to fight the urge to tickle him. Trust me, he’s not all that serious… he has a really dry sense of humor and had me cracking up most of the afternoon.
Then he closed the lid and wouldn’t let me peek anymore. I begged, pleaded, and threatened but he was determined. This was the first peek me and my camera got, and well, it was worth the wait. The salmon, oh, the salmon.
And there it was, cooked to perfection. The perfect amount of seasoning and the perfect light smoky flavor, nothing too overpowering. An amazing creamy opaque color right through and layers that flaked apart easily. Did I say perfect already?
It was so pretty and tasty I could almost cry. But I didn’t. See the huge missing part? I ate it. Then I ate the rest after he left so I wouldn’t look like a guzzler. The green garnish is the Wakame Chuka Salad (Japanese seaweed salad) Jeroen brought with him, it matched brilliantly.
Jeroen cut it and for the life of me, I still don’t understand how he could use his bare hands on something that hot. But he did. And I admired him. I can honestly say that this was the most juicy, moist, chicken I have ever tasted from the grill.
By the time it was 8pm I was almost nauseous from all the eating I had done. It’s going to take me a long, long time—say a decade or so—before I’ll even come close to cooking on a grill the way he does. I had an absolutely wonderful afternoon and learned an awful lot that I think will definitely help me in shooting my own recipes. When I grow up, I want to be just like Jeroen.
Thanks a million, Jeroen. I owe you one. Or two.